The work of the Bamboo Bike Project (BBP) received a boost from several gifts received over the summer from the Charities Advisory Trust, the Ripple Foundation, an enterprising donor who organized a benefit concert, and numerous others. A recent New York Times article touted the benefits of bamboo bikes—including the economic advantages for workers in Ghana who will help manufacture 20,000 bikes per year via a new factory.
A generous contribution (matched by the Tides Foundation) from the UK-based Charities Advisory Trust, will support research and development in New York and Ghana. The charity is also featuring the bamboo bike in their Good Gifts Catalogue. The bikes will be provided to health workers, midwives, para-vets and teachers in Ghana, so they can work more effectively. The Charities Advisory Trust’s director, Dame Hilary Blume comments: “It helps those buying this Good Gift to know exactly where their money goes, with the added bonus that research shows that acting charitably is good for their health.”
We are also grateful for the effort that a supporter put into organizing a benefit concert to bolster the work of the Bamboo Bike Project. After finding our BBP website and becoming enthralled with the concept of the project, Haley Cassidy searched for ways that she could offer support. Ms. Cassidy ultimately persuaded the owner of a neighborhood music venue to host the show, found four local bands to play for free and secured giveaways from bicycle-related companies. By collecting a modest cover from attendees, the benefit ended up raising $700 for the Bamboo Bike Project. According to Ms. Cassidy, “it seemed like people were really excited about the cause… and the night was a huge success.”
Aided by these gifts, progress continues in bringing the Ghanaian factory online, and we expect to complete a test run by the end of 2010. Upon completion of this test run, the project’s research and development team will make necessary adjustments to the manufacturing process to ensure that real large-scale production can be achieved.
No one has built bicycles in Africa before using local materials. This project will satisfy a great need in the country and simultaneously set up a local manufacturing capacity that could be used as a model elsewhere.